Day 156- Epcot Rainy Day

It is such a rainy afternoon! The rain is light as we get to the Epcot parking entrance. We get parked, walk in the rain to the entrance, get our bags checked, and scan our MagicBands.  We enter and see the beautiful purple flowers; with the rain, they smell awesome!

We near Spaceship Earth and there is an amazingly long line for a late afternoon. We go on around and see so many colorful raincoats. We see the family of orange rain ponchos, the pink poncho family, and there are so many Disney ponchos. Then, I see one green poncho. It is a myriad of color. Even in our group, we have a red raincoat, a green, and a pink one!

The rain begins such downpour that we go to get drinks at Starbucks and decide to go to sit in the Electric Umbrella. We find that they have a pin trading umbrella! So, we had to take a minute and look at these cool pins!

We enjoy a few minutes of drinking our coffee and teas as we watch all of the people going through the walkway near MouseGear. Then, as we are fixing to leave, there is a family who sits at the table near us. They were so cute: the mom and dad were searching their phones, and their teenage daughters were talking to them, trying to get their attention. I walked to their table and the daughters looked up. I smiled at them and said, “Do you have trouble getting your parents not to watch their phones when you are sitting down at the table?” The daughters laughed and said, “Actually, we do!” They laughed as they explained that their mom just got a new phone and she is on it all the time! Just then the mom looked up and asked, “What was that?” The girls and I giggled. It was fun talking to them for a minute and their daughters thought that it was really funny!

Now, we are off and heading for the front gates on this rainy day. It is not very cold today, just wet… very wet! We had fun, rainy day at Epcot!

Day 154- Epcot

It is a beautiful day; a little windy and cool, but beautiful! We are heading for Epcot today. It has been busy this weekend and we are hoping that Epcot is less crowded than the other parks. As we get to the parking lot, we realize it is going to be very busy. We hop on the tram and head for the park. We get our bags checked and wait in line to scan our MagicBands.

As we get into the park, we can already see how busy today is going to be. We get close to Spaceship Earth where we can see that the line and wait time is really long. Even the Fastpass+ line is rather long today. We walk around the walkway and carefully make our way through the crowds of people.

I think we will drop into the Artist Shop. It is so beautiful to walk into the shop and see the talent that goes into each of these creations. From the sculptures to the paintings, there are so many beautiful things to see here!

Now we are off to Starbucks to get coffee and tea to take with us as we make our way around the World Showcase. As we walk toward the World Showcase Lagoon, see the flowers that are being laid for the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival! I cannot wait! I love seeing the artistry that is put into all of these lush gardens. We walk on around and stop in France to see the beautiful design of the shrubs. I love these. Twinkie stops to get a picture, and then we see that there is a quiet place in France to sit. On the way, I must stop in and see what is new in Guerlain. As we exit, we sit where we can watch the Friendship boats as they come and go. There is a quiet serenity in this spot. I look up just as a lady is taking a picture of us. I realize by her expression that she recognized my kids from being on the Steve Harvey Show.

We sit for a few more minutes and soon, two men who work on the Friendship boats walk by. We realize that the sun is beginning to set and it is getting really chilly fast! It has been so peaceful here sitting and watching the boats come and go, but we must head out before the temperatures drop. It will be chilly tonight! As we are leaving, we can see the different areas being prepped for the Flower and Garden Festival! I am so excited to see how beautiful all of the flowers will look in the next few days!  

It has been a fun visit, and I am so happy to see all of the new flowers!

Day 77- Epcot

The sun is shining and the day is warm! I think we will head for Epcot! Neil Patrick Harris is at the Christmas Candlelight Processional and that would be amazing to see!

As we arrive and park, we are at the far end of the row, away from the tram. That means that it is almost as close to walk to the front entrance as it is to walk to the tram. These rows are very, very long, but if you are here for the first time, the tram is a great way to make it to the front entrance.

We get to bag check and the security guards are really nice as we go through the line. Twinkie overheard the security guard say that people were lining up to see Neil Patrick Harris at 1:30 today, even though the first Candlelight Processional doesn’t start until 5:00. Apparently, the line was so long, it wrapped from the American Adventure, through Italy, and all the way down into Germany! Wow!

We scan our MagicBands and I laugh with the cast member as she welcomes me. I am laughing because at this very moment there are so many places open to scan my MagicBand! I love these moments!

As we enter, we are talk about wanting to see the Candlelight Processional, especially with Neal Patrick Harris. So, we need to see if there are reservations left for one of the Candlelight Processional Dining Packages. We want to make sure we get to see the Candlelight Processional, and it sounds like this will be the best way to get good seats. Neal Patrick Harris is amazing and we’ve enjoyed watching him throughout his career, even back to Doogie Howser, M.D.!

As we talk to the cast member in Guest Relations, her trainer says that she’s worked at the Candlelight Processional, and she really loved hearing him. He was her favorite! We are so excited, and they begin the search to see if we are able to find a lunch or dinner open. As we explain the restaurant and time we want, they both are so surprised that they have a reservation open. We smile really big and are thankful that there is one available. They completed the reservation, and again reemphasized how surprised they were that there was one still available. We smile and laugh with them and know that it will be an amazing night!

We grab a drink at Starbucks and head for Canada! Oh, Tooti sees a mom that is taking her daughter’s picture and asks, “Would you like me to take a picture of you both?” She was elated, and thanked us several times. We were so glad to get to help!

We are doing a lot of pin trading today. The kids are off and finding cast members to see which pins they have. I love pin trading; we find pins that I have never seen. We find a few and decide to see if we can find the bunny rabbits that live in the gardens in Canada. We see the beautiful gardens and it is so peaceful, but the rabbits must be hiding in the flowers. We continue around, cross the rope bridge, and climb the stairs. It is beautiful, and the waterfall is amazing.

We stop at the Northwest Mercantile shop to see the new items. Twinkie points out the raccoon hat with its plushie head and tail still attached. Then, she finds a little round critter with a Canadian Mountie hat on. They also carry Moose Spit, Bear Breath, Beaver Butt, Sasquatch Sweat, Ferret Farts, and these are soaps by Goat Mountain Soap Company! We do have to chuckle about these. Check out their lip balms! We love those names too!

As we are leaving and walking down the stairs, we can hear the new Christmas music coming from the Mill Stage. Oh, look! It’s the Canadian Holiday Voyageurs playing Christmas music! How fun!

We are going to back track and see if we can do some more pin trading on the way back to the entrance. We do stop at Pin Central to see the new Christmas Pins. We trade a couple of pins with the cast members and we are off. As we get close to Guest Relations, we stop and enjoy watching little kids dancing with the cast member, she has a bubble gun. Then, we notice that there is a remote controlled yellow car running in huge circles! I noticed that there were stickers attached to the top, with a little note that says, “Take one!” It is the funniest, coolest thing! A little dude walked up and got a sticker. I want one! We all got a sticker and the car took off.  I hollered back at two little brothers, “Hey, do y’all want to get a sticker?” They looked up at their dad and he said, “Sure!” They were hopping and happy when they got them as they headed toward the front gate!

I love Disney and all of the fun things they do. We had a wonderful afternoon of pin trading and enjoying the beautiful flowers. It was a good day!

Day 63- Magic Kingdom & Epcot

Today is an absolutely beautiful day. We are expecting it to be in the lower 80s today and even hotter tomorrow! The sky is a beautiful blue with a few puffy clouds floating by. We are going to Magic Kingdom today.

Magic Kingdom is bustling as we get our bags checked and our MagicBands scanned. We have until 7pm tonight, that is when Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party begins and you must have a separate event ticket. We plan to go later this season, we went in 2012 and it was so much fun.

As we entered by the train depot, the Festival of Fantasy parade was going down Main Street USA. After we watched the parade pass, we waited a few minutes and started down Main Street USA. What’s that I hear? It’s the Dapper Dans quartet singing! Their singing makes you feel like you stepped back in time. Then, we heard the Main Street Philharmonic a little bit later! I love all of the music on Main Street USA.

We headed for Tomorrowland to the Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. I love this ride, and there are so many people today that I am glad we have a FastPass+. The FastPass line moves quickly and soon we are on the ride. I got over 100,000 points today, that makes me smile!

Our next stop is the Main Street Bakery for some coffee. I know we are backtracking a bit, but that is not unusual when you go to Disney! As we step in and order, the cast member remembers us from a few weeks ago. He recaps our story and tries to remember Tooti and Twinkie’s nicknames. This is always fun, today he tries to recall and calls them Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. We chuckle and compliment him on remembering our story of 365 at Disney. We get our drinks, then go to sit and enjoy the Dream Along with Mickey show in front of Cinderella’s Castle.

After we finish our coffees, we head toward the front of the park to ride the Walt Disney World Railroad! We watched and waited as they refurbished the train recently, so this is the first time we have ridden on it since the refurbishment! I am so excited! I love trains and we get to sit at the very back; that is usually full during really busy seasons, so it’s extra special today. Twinkie gets to ride on the very, very last seat! Soon we are off and chugging down the rails! We stop at the Frontierland Station where some people get off and new folks get on. Twinkie heard that the girl who made her Paperman Ears was in Fantasyland, so when we got around to that stop, we got off. She was able to say, “Hi!” and then we made our way to the front gates once again.

We were all a little hungry, so we decided we needed a Power Salad at Sunshine Seasons in Epcot. We hopped onto the Monorail and went back to the Ticket and Transportation Center, where we changed to the Epcot Monorail and were off to find some supper! We met a wonderful family on the Monorail and had a fun time talking and sharing a few tips. The dad was trying to convince his daughter that Spaceship Earth is really made out of chocolate; if you peel back the wrapper you can go up and take a bite… just be sure to put the wrapper back down, though! I like that idea! They were going to be at Disney for eight days. How much fun they will have these next few days! I am so excited for them! They were a really nice family.

We walked down the ramp from the Monorail and got our bags checked, scanned our MagicBands, and we were officially in Epcot! YAY! I love being here and seeing so many happy people. The crowds are thinner than they were during the Food and Wine Festival and it is really nice! As we walk to The Land, there are several people who need directions to various parts of the park. I am always glad to help them and shout, “Have fun!” I hope they have as much fun as we did on our first trip to Walt Disney World!

As we walk up to The Land, Twinkie reminds me that the building is in the shape of a volcano! Really? That is so cool. Also, the sidewalks up to the building are colored to represent hot lava and cooled lava flowing down from the volcano. Now, that is really cool. As we walk up, a couple asks if Soarin’ is near here. Tooti told them to enter, go to the right, take the escalator down, turn right at the bottom, and you can see the Soarin’ sign.

Soon, we are finished with supper and we are back outside going to see the Epcot Christmas Tree. It is beautiful.

After an afternoon and evening of walking in two parks, I think it is time to call it a day! I have met so many nice families whose children were so kind and smart! What a wonderful day!

Day 61- Epcot and Journey into Imagination with Figment

This morning was overcast and cool, but this afternoon is warm, with a few clouds in the blue, sunny sky! We are heading to Epcot to see how it looks after the Food and Wine Festival, since it ended on Monday. We walk from our car to bag check, and soon we are in the gates. I love seeing all the smiling faces and the excitement of getting to be at Disney’s Epcot.

Instantly, we notice you can clearly see Epcot’s iconic Spaceship Earth!  The Festival signs are no longer there, and this area has all new flowers! That is a lot of planting.

It is lunchtime and Tooti suggests a Power Salad at Sunshine Seasons, Twinkie agrees! I love these and I love the truly quick service! Off to The Land pavilion, it is a good hike up a hill into the building. Once inside, you turn to the right and walk down to the escalator, which takes you to the bottom level, and if you continue around, you will find Sunshine Seasons. There is a great picture menu as you enter, and we choose to go to the salad section.

It is busy, but the lines move quickly, and we all three order the Power Salad. It is so nice to have a quick service restaurant here with a great selection of gluten free options. Usually one of us orders the half chicken with yellow rice and black beans; it is gluten free (but please, do let them know if you have an allergy just to be on the safe side). Really, I cannot express how wonderful it is to have really delicious food at a quick service location! Sunshine Seasons is a great place to eat, and one of our favorite quick service restaurants. We enjoyed our wonderful lunch break.

Next, we have a FastPass+ to Journey into Imagination with Figment! I have been on this ride several times and it is so much fun, especially for kids! After the ride ends, there are plenty of interactive activities in the ImageWorks lab! This is definitely a fun place to explore with little ones.

We enjoy all of the beautiful palm trees; the birds of paradise are in full bloom, and the tall, tropical plantings look amazing. I love the beautiful landscaping that you can enjoy as you walk around the park.

It is perfectly busy and fun to be at Epcot! I thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful, warm day!

Day 53- Epcot

This evening is beautiful as we arrive at Epcot. There are quite a few people arriving late this evening.

We are getting to Disney late today because we got to go and see a Steve Harvey Show taping! He is in Orlando this week and we got to be a part of the audience for the taping of the Steve Harvey Show! We arrived at 11:30am for the 3pm taping. A staff member let us know that being in line early did not make a difference in where we would be sitting, so feel free to go and enjoy lunch or something until 1pm. We got coffee and sat in a really cool Starbucks.

We get back to the check-in at 1pm and the line is very long. It was moving fast; soon we had our bag checked and were admitted into The Groove to wait to be seated.

At 3pm we were called by the numbers on our tickets and were seated. Then, we got rearranged and ended up on the end of a row. We could see Steve Harvey really well and totally enjoyed the taping! Being there was so much fun and it was so exciting to see an icon of our time!! We left at about 5pm and started the drive to Disney’s Epcot Park!

There is a line for bag check and then a line to scan our MagicBands. We are here for supper and I didn’t make reservations ahead of time, so, we chose to go to Sunshine Seasons in The Land. They have great walk-up food stations with a good variety with several gluten free choices. The chef is called and comes out quickly to let us know that our Power Salad is perfectly fine as a gluten free choice.

We enjoy our time eating, and watching how many people there are in this area.

It is getting dark earlier tonight and it is so pretty with the full moon. Twinkie stopped to look at pins, and we had a nice chat with the cast member.

What a fun day!!

Day 49- Epcot: La Hacienda de San Angel, Canadian Lumberjack Show & Spaceship Earth

Happy Sunday Morning! It is cool and breezy on this sunny day, so we threw on our ugly sweaters and headed for Epcot!

We arrive at the park and ride the tram to the front gates, check in at bag check, scan our MagicBands, and head for Mexico! We have lunch reservations at La Hacienda de San Angel. We are seated quickly and look at the menu. Tooti has been talking about the Queso Fundido cheese dish at La Hacienda de San Angel. We are served chips and 2 salsas, the red one is hot, and the green one is not. Soon, we have our tacos and Queso Fundido, gluten free. It is a nice lunch.

There is a concert tonight with 38 Special. I was not the right age for this group, but the concert is packed out with people standing along the edges! We took a minute to listen and see the huge amount of people watching. Already, the line for the next show is growing.

Our next stop is the UK Pavilion for a Chai, and next-door is the Canadian Lumberjack Show! I have tried for a couple of weeks to be here at the right time to get to see them. It is a great show, and very fun! At the close of the show, they said they are going to be available for handshakes and pictures. The kids got a picture with them!

Next, we have a FastPass+ for Spaceship Earth! It is a very chilly walk, and I am so glad that the ride is much warmer inside. I really like Spaceship Earth and the story of how communication began and transformed over the years. Then, near the end of the ride, they put together a little video specific to you and your choices to the multiple-choice questions they ask. It is really cute and fun.

Now we are off to the front gates, it is dark and even cooler outside. The tram is very full, to the point the tram attendant said, “We are full, so full that I have to say there is no more boarding, since there is no more room.” I agree, we have 3 of us already in out row, and then a very tall, large couple got on our row, and kept scooting us over. I put my arm behind Twinkie, and the lady kept pushing me over, saying, “Excuse me!!!” I had to not laugh, there was room for 1.33 of them and they were 2+. We kept ooching over until they both fit. If I had the breath to chuckle, I would have. I did enjoy the family behind me, and I had to tell the grandmother, “I love your accent!!!” She was bashful and said, “It is not much of one,” in a very thick British accent, “It is not very good, not very sophisticated.” I said, “I am from Texas and this is what I have!” She laughed so hard, “Texas?” “Yes, but we moved down here in the summer!” “Oh, so you are living the dream!” she said. We laughed and then it was time to disembark! We all shouted, “Have a wonderful evening!” and we were off to walk to our cars. Nice to be in the warm car on a cool day!